Self-Care Isn’t Selfish: Thrive in your Own Space

College is the epitome of a cumulative exam; you remember what you learned in the past, learn something new and then make it applicable to any space you subsequently encounter. You are constantly being put to the test. Did your lessons in high school and first semester resonate with you? What epiphanies did you come to realize today? How can you build on them? How can you take care of yourself, when you add the parts of your equation of happiness? Spoiler: these are some of the exam questions, but who even likes exams? Buckle your seatbelts, because you are about to.

I have always been notoriously observant. I concentrate on what’s outward and inward in order get the most value out of my time in whatever space I’m in. When I first arrived at Colgate, I wasn’t quite sure how to approach my new habitat. I had to be observant, seeing what was working for others and what was not. It took me a while to learn how to navigate college in an effective manner, and seek ways to find happiness. After my first semester, I had an epiphany: self-care isn’t selfish.

So, what exactly does this mean? It means that you must look out for yourself, especially when situated in an unfamiliar place. Figure out how your surroundings will accommodate your needs, in order to facilitate your adjustment. Seek out people who make you feel at home and lift you up. Take moments to process the now, and to construct the next. Find spaces on campus where you feel secure and happy. Find serenity and genuinity within yourself.

But how, Amanda? That’s for you to figure out with time. If you’re observant like me, you can not only learn from yourself, but also from others. If this all sounds too convoluted for you to start from scratch, I can perhaps provide a little push. I seek comfort in spaces that are light, such as my dorm, the third or fifth floors in the library and the Coop. If I wish to isolate myself from the outside world, I resort to my dorm. If I am feeling open and energized, I find myself in spots where I am surrounded by familiar faces. With regard to navigating through these familiar faces, you must do so with awareness. It takes time to find a place where you belong, but go into your experience with an open-mind toward your peers, while also seeking those who will support you, embody strength and genuinity and are reliable and spontaneous. These qualities make people truly special, and when you find these individuals, hold them tight.

All of these questions are on your cumulative exam, and they will make you a stronger person. This is for you. Take care of yourself. Put on a face mask and make a playlist reflecting your mood. Drink a smoothie or decorate your own bowl of yogurt at the Coop. Take long, aesthetic walks back to your dorm, and say hi to your peers. Encourage yourself to persist, and remain focused in order to build your physical and mental endurance. Shut your phone off. Involve yourself in organizations that enable you to shine and unveil your talents; this can cultivate confidence. If something goes wrong, use the situation as a lesson, rather than over-analyzing and being critical of yourself; you are just doing you, and you happen to be at college while doing that. No one on this campus is trotting around with weightless shoulders, so keep that in mind. Seek what works for you, what works with others and what works with your environment. It’s okay to focus on yourself, it’s not all that selfish.

Contact Amanda Capra at [email protected].